Turn a single board and four stair parts into a fun yard decoration for the holidays.
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Print the patterns for the moose parts and trim them to shape (Project Diagrams, Patterns 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7). Assemble each pattern section of the moose using painter’s tape with three sections for the body, two for the head and antlers, and two for the sides.
Cut a 1 x 12 cedar board into five segments: two that are 18-1/4 inches long, two that are 19 inches, and one approximately 21 inches long (Project Diagrams, Cutting Diagram).
Glue and screw together the two 18-1/4-inch-long sections and the two 19-inch-long sections of cedar using 1-1/4-inch-long deck screws to form a double-thickness board, glue the smooth surfaces of the cedar together so the rough sides are facing out. (Drive the screws near the corners of the boards to leave the maximum area to trace the body patterns.) Allow the glue to set for at least an hour.
Place the body and head/antler patterns so they fit on the appropriate blank, trace the shapes using a marker. (The bold ink will help guide your cuts and can be sanded away later.
For the sides, trace one pattern onto the blank, then flip the pattern over and trace the pattern a second time (Project Diagrams, Cutting Diagram). By flipping the pattern over, this will yield a second side with the rough face of the cedar pointing out when you attach them to the body of the moose.
Clamp a glued pair of boards to the work surface with a portion overhanging the bench. Jigsaw the overhanging portion, then unclamp and rotate the work piece. Work in sections to cut the part to shape. The work surface will support the work while you keep a firm grip on the saw and make slow, steady cuts. Repeat for the remaining parts.
Clamp each cutout to a work surface and smooth the edges. For outside curves, use an orbital sander; for inside curves, wrap 100-grit sandpaper around a dowel. Files and rasps can also help shape the parts. The exact final shape of the parts is not as critical as making smooth and flowing edges.
Sand the surface of the moose parts with 100-grit sandpaper and then ease the edges with sandpaper to remove any of the lines remaining from the pattern.
Align the head section with the main body and apply glue to the joint (Project Diagram, Drawing 2).
Center the side on the head/body so the side covers the connection and is centered on the height of the body (Project Diagram, Drawing 2). Drill pilot holes, glue the side, and drive two 1-1/4-inch deck screws through the side into the head and four screws into body to reinforce the connection.
Flip the moose assembly over and add the second side so it mirrors the first side. Glue and screw it in place.
At one end of each stair baluster mark the angle where the leg will secure to the sides of the moose (Project Diagram, Drawing 2). Make the taper cut using the jigsaw, then cut the legs to 26 inches long.
Position the legs so the bottom of the tapered section at the top of the leg is even with the bottom edge of the side. Legs should slant, not point straight down. (The leg angle is not critical; 10-15 degrees will create a stable, natural look.) Secure the angled cut section of the legs to the side of the moose (Project Diagram, Drawing 2) using glue and 2-inch deck screws.
Flip the moose onto the opposite side. Glue and screw the third leg to the side toward the front. Position the leg in the same manner as the opposite leg -- the exact position is not critical.
Stand the moose on the three legs. Adjust the legs before the glue dries to modify the stance. When satisfied, position the fourth leg against the moose using the work surface to position the bottom of the leg so the moose stands level. Mark the position of the final leg with a pencil. Then lay the moose down, and attach the leg where marked using glue and screws.
Lightly sand any rough edges of the assembled moose. If you want a clear protective finish, apply three coats of spar urethane, or an exterior stain of your choosing.